Cloud Roundup #5

Cloud computing for lawyers continues to mature although most of the activity is outside the legal profession.  Here is a look at some of things that have caught my eye in the last couple of weeks.

But first, I have created some pages dedicated to commonly discussed, reviewed, or well-known cloud Software-as-a-Service apps for lawyers.  In fact, most aren’t legal in nature at all.  But for lawyers who are wondering where to get started, this may help.  I don’t consider it a buyer’s guide – I don’t use most of them, nor is it comprehensive – but it includes a short list of some of the better known sites.

In other news:

  • SpiderOak is a file synchronization service in the cloud, similar to Dropbox.  The main difference is that it pre-encrypts your data before it uploads it.  For lawyers wanting belt-and-suspenders, it’s a good option.  They’ve just added Hive, which is a tool that will enable easier synching of your SpiderOak content across multiple devices.
  • Cloud Mate looks like an interesting addition for Macintosh users, in that it brings additional functionality for searching your iCloud.  Dropbox has this sort of search built-in and there are cloud search tools but none for iCloud.

  • This McKinsey report on the cloud has been on my reading list for some time.  I think it’s suggestion that you take a mixed approach is right on.  You aren’t going to put your whole law practice in the cloud – there will always be an offline aspect because you can’t always be guaranteed online access.  The report is actually looking at larger companies and risk management but it’s an interesting read.
  • Most lawyers are going to use the top most lawyer of the cloud (the silver lining?) known as Software-as-a-Service.  But if you ever wondered how it all fits together, this infographic is really useful for putting SaaS, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, and Platform-as-a-Service into perspective.  Why does it matter?  Because things like service level agreements flow up and down the stack.  If you use a legal cloud provider, they may be relying on a service level agreement from a PaaS cloud provider, and so on.  It can help you manage your own expectations if you understand that each layer is limited by the ones below it on which it relies.

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